Allen Tortice was born to a mining family in what was at the time the heart of the industrial northeast. One of eight children, he was educated at the local village school, after which he had a number of jobs including, like his father, going down the mines, and later, a brief spell in the army. He also attended Wakefield College to study mining engineering, but left to join the Army (R.E.M.E) where he won the cross rifles on his first shoot.
Many jobs followed but he started painting seriously in 1987, and had his first one-man exhibition the same year, which was a sell out on the first day. He had four more exhibitions after this in Leeds, Harrogate and Blackpool.
Allen has always been drawn to the industrial landscapes, feeling that these are disappearing fast, and he tries to capture them before the past is gone forever. He thinks we must not forget our industrial heritage, for that is what made us great.
Allen found out late in life that he has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism. He knew he was different but didn’t know why. He describes his feelings:
“I was bursting inside to express myself and found that art was my only friend”.
His inspiration has been to capture the essence of our country, for this is what he feelsis his being. “I believe part of the city can produce powerful images, in the hands of a professional artist”.